Nickel miner to ship out more ore next year


HINATUAN Island, Surigao del Norte: Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC), a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp., expects to make at least 51 ore shipments as operations normalize next year.

Resident Mine Manager Francisco Arañes Jr. said the company hopes that output and earnings would increase as nickel prices improve in the world market.

The company has trimmed its ore shipment target this year due to the delay in getting government to cut trees within its mining area, Arañes also said, noting a tough time obtaining a tree cutting permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Once the permit to cut trees is approved, the nickel miner intends to start mining in more than 30 hectares of its mine area.

Hinatuan lowered its saprolite and limonite ore shipments to 38 instead of 51 this year, compared with 52 shipments last year—mostly to China and some to Japan—which would translate to a lower income for the company. Arañes did not elaborate.

“As of last week, we have already shipped out 33 vessels of nickel ore for the year. We only have five more shipments this year. For this month, we will have two shipments to Japan,” Arañes said.

Each shipment carries more than 50,000 wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore.

Filed with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources last April, the application for a tree-cutting permit was recommended by the Forest Management Bureau to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, but the Cabinet official has yet to act on it, Arañes said.

Last month, TUV Rheinland recommended an Occupational Health Safety Assessment Standards (ISO 18001:2007) for Hinatuan, confirming that the miner has established and maintained an effective system to ensure compliance with its policies and objectives, HMC Safety Manager Reynaldo Conti said.

Issued in 2007, the company’s mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) covers 773.77 hectares in within the Surigao Mineral Reservation. Its declared disturbed area currently stands at 383 hectares.


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